Visualizing Shell Shock in World War One: Footage from the British War Archives

WWI has the dubious distinction of being the first modern war to be fought with the mass of industrial mechanization and production in close support.  To a lesser extent, this distinction is also often shared with the American Civil War.  The mental distress of the soldiers involved in this global war are well known to most schoolchildren enrolled in Social Studies or History classes.  The psychiatric distresses imparted upon these men during the massive artillery bombardments of 1914-1918 are best exemplified in the following video made available by the British War Archives.

Select section 3 in the left hand drop down menu.  Or watch the whole series!

WWI Red Cross Nurse Photo Identification – Miss Ella Kettels/Voged Describes Wartime Hospitals

World War One studio photography is dominated by shots of male soldiers posing in European studios in hopes of documenting their wartime experiences for hometown family and friends to enjoy.  Little did they know that historians in 2014 would be researching their names, hometowns, photos and military rosters to help paint a picture of the American experience during WWI.  One of my favorite research topics is the wartime culture of US nurses while stationed overseas in 1918 and 1919. In this case, I’ve done an extensive series of searches in hopes of tracking down the WWI nurse posed in the photo. I hope you enjoy the research!

Ella (Kettels) Vodel in 1918

Ella (Kettels) Voged in 1918

Ella Kettels of Clinton, Iowa

Ella Kettels of Clinton, Iowa

Miss Ella Kettels (mispelled on the photo) eventually went on to marry at the age of 35 to a man named Theodore Voged.  He is listed as a janitor in the 1929 city directory for Clinton, Iowa.  The couple lived at 576 1st Ave. in Clinton, IA.  I’ve identified the house they lived in and have posted it below:

576 1st Ave. in Clinton, IA.

576 1st Ave. in Clinton, IA.

Her wartime experience is included in her1965 obituary:

“Mrs, Ella Voged, 80, of Clinton, saw the grim side of World War I. She went to France as a Red Cross nurse but soon found herself enrolled as an Army nurse. She had been graduated from nursing school at a Clinton hospital in 1910. Mrs. Voged served as a nurse in a hospital near Paris to which American wounded came in a steady stream from the big front-line battles of that war. . “Sometimes we thought this boy would be all right and they would be gone in the morning,” she recalled. “This was long before the day of antibiotics. They would develop infections in their wounds.”

Although we may never know the full extent of Ella’s wartime hardships, we do know that she will be immortalized on the world wide web as a subject of potential research in the future.

WWI Wounded Marine RPPC – Belleau Wood Navy Cross Recipient – Jacob Heckman, 5th Marine Regiment

My favorite World War One photo in my collection has to be the following real photo postcard shot taken in Paris in December of 1918.  The content and context of the photo – three wounded officers posing in a French studio before being sent home – is good enough to grace the “top shelf” of any WWI photo collection.  The fact that they are named on the reverse makes it all the more interesting.  For the purpose of this post, I will identify one of the officers and track down his service history.

Jacob H. Heckman(L)

Jacob H. Heckman(L)

Heckman is included in the hall of heroes for American Jewish Military History:

HeckmanHere’s a transcription of the above entry:

Second Lieutenant Jacob H. Heckman, USMC

For extraordinary heroism in action in the Bois de Belleau, France, June 25th, 1918.  With the assisting three sergeants, he started out to destroy the final stand of enemy in the Bois de Belleau, an impregnable position, where enemy guns were concealed by rocks and heavy shrubbery.  Armed with only a pistol, he rushed the nest, which was offering the most violent resistance, and captured one officer and ninety men.  Each of his men destroyed a nest and captured two of the enemy at each position.  After effecting the complete reduction of the last element, he marched his prisoners in under a severe and harassing fire of the retreating enemy.

And from the following blog:

Perhaps an even more astonishing example of heroism was provided by First Lieutenant Jacob Harrison Heckman, whose actions on June 25 were just one of many examples of courage up and down the line that day that secured victory. His citation reads as follows:

The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to Jacob Harrison Heckman, First Lieutenant, U.S. Marine Corps, for extraordinary heroism while serving with the 5th Regiment (Marines), 2d Division, A.E.F. in action in the Bois-de-Belleau, France, June 25, 1918 resistance, and captured one officer and ninety men. Each of his men destroyed a nest and captured two of the enemy at each po. With the assistance of three sergeants, Lieutenant Heckman started out to destroy the final stand of the enemy in the Bois-de-Belleau, an impregnable position, where enemy guns were concealed by rocks and heavy shrubbery. Armed with only a pistol, Lieutenant Heckman rushed the nest which was offering the most violent sition. After effecting the complete reduction of the last element, Lieutenant Heckman marched his prisoners in under a severe and harassing fire of the retreating enemy.

WWI Vermont Veteran Photo – John J. Corcoran, 101st Machine Gun Battalion Wounded in Action

My continued obsession with WWI Vermont material has landed me a new WWI photo taken in France in June of 1918.  I literally stumbled across this listing; the seller didn’t mention the fact that the soldier was a Vermonter.  Luckily I checked out the back of the photo before moving on to the next auction listing.

The photo was addressed to a Mrs. George Bolduc of Fitzdale, Vermont dated June 25th, 1918.  The writer added the following info:

“June 25th, 1918

Dear Sister,

Am well and happy and hope you and children are well.  Will write you a letter later, am pretty busy just now so am sending this in place of a letter.  This is not very good but will have to pass some love to you all.  From bro-

John Corcoran

101st MG BN, AEF”


John J. Corcoran(R)

John poses in the above photo with an unnamed friend of his from the 101st MG Bn. sporting a beautiful example of a woolen M1911 sweater.  I’ve attached below a period advertisement showing two versions of the service sweater.  These were either hand-knit from patterns or could be privately purchased through various supply and retail companies.

I am fortunate enough to own a copy of the hard-to-find 101st Machine Gun Battalion unit history.  Wagoner John J. Corcoran is listed with a frontal snapshot beside his biography.  He was born on May 29th, 1890 in Maine and eventually made his way over to Vermont where he lived in Lunenburg, VT working as a paper maker with the Gilman Paper Company.  He enlisted at Fort Ethan Allen on June 29th, 1917 with the 1st Vermont Infantry, where he was later transferred into the 103rd MG of the 26th Division.  His WWI and WWII draft cards were both listed on and I’ve included them below along with a copy of his death record.  He passed away in 1947 and is buried in Lunenburg.  I hope to travel there soon to take a photo of his grave!

101st MG Bn. Unit History Roster Entry

101st MG Bn. Unit History Roster Entry


WWI Draft Card

WWI Draft Card

WWII Draft Card

WWII Draft Card

John was badly wounded on July 22nd, 1918 during an attack on the French town of Epieds.  I’ve included a period map of the battle as well as an image of the location today.  Not much has changed!  This attack was coordinated only a few days after the Battle of Chateau Thierry.  Luckily, John’s encounter with the Germans was noted in the 101st MG unit history diary section.  I’ve transcribed the section:

“At daybreak both companies were sent into some woods overlooking Trugny to assist the attack of Major Rau’s battalion against the town. We could not locate any enemy to fire at, and the best we could do was wait to protect Rau’s left against possible counterattack.  We were shelled and M.G. bullets flew pretty thick.  Bristol of C Co. was wounded.  After awhile(sic) the attack crumbled in spite of Rau’s gallant efforts against impossible odds, and the troops were withdrawn to the old positions.  A little later C Co. was sent over to the right to join Rau.  There they found him with only a few of his men left.  The guns were set up on the edge of the woods in a defensive position.  B Co. got orders to support an attack of the 102nd Infantry Regiment on the town of Epieds over on the left flank.  The company formed a fourth wave behind the infantry, and spread out into a long skirmish line.  The advance started over the open wheat field at a slow walk, with frequent halts during which each man flattened out so that no moving thing was visible in the field.  M.G. bullets began to kick up little puffs of dust all around us, and the enemy artillery barrage came down fiercely just ahead.  We knew we would have to go through this, and every nerve was tense.  We soon found ourselves in the midst of it – direct fire at that, mostly from one pounders, and 105’s and Austrian 88’s which come with the shriek of a thousand devils.  The fumes choked us and the concussion half stunned us.  it was here that Hez Porter, following his platoon leader, was instantly killed.  Corcoran, Dick and Wendt were wounded…………………………….”

Unit History  Casualty Report

Unit History
Casualty Report



Death Registration

Death Registration

WWI Photo – Wounded 32nd Division Captain Poses in Paris Studio on Christmas 1918

Wounded soldier photos are some of the hardest photos to find in the collecting field.  Often times a collector will come across a photo of a veteran wearing a wound chevron, or occasionally a shot of a soldier with a cane.  In this case, I was able to pick up a grouping of photos taken at a Paris photo studio showing an assortment of wounded vets who recently were treated at a local Paris hospital.  They hobbled over to a studio on Christmas day of 1918 to have their photos taken.  These shots were some of the most expensive I’ve ever purchased, but they were well worth the investment.  This is the more subdued of the four photos, but took me a long time to research and I wanted to post it for the internet community.

Albert E. Haan poses on Christmas Day 1918

Albert E. Haan poses on Christmas Day 1918

I was tipped off by a Dutch friend of mine (thanks Rogier!) that his photo may be of a Dutch-American given his last name of Haan.  Starting with the basic search of a name and hometown I was able to find a few bits of info.  His name was Albert Haan and was born in 1893.  I had to search a bit to find the census records for him, as they were listed under a misinterpreted/transcribed name of Hoan.  Anyway it appears that Albert became an Army informant for the Veterans Association after the war.  He is listed in a 1922 court case where he (and another veteran from my photo grouping) is listed as an informant.  Anway, he is listed as being employed by the US Army in the 1920 Census and is shown as having a wife named Frances L and a daughter named Frances L.  His daughter was only 2 months old at the time of the census.  His wife appear to have been born around the turn of the century.  He is listed as having been born in Holland in his earlier census entry, but mysteriously switched his place of birth to Michigan in the 1910 and 1920 census.  He must’ve been able to hide his accent!

His Veterans Affairs death file lists the following:

Name: Albert Haan
Gender: Male
Birth Date: 12 Mar 1893
Death Date: 30 Nov 1986
SSN: 234014340
Enlistment Date 1: 13 May 1910
Release Date 1: 12 Mar 1914
Enlistment Date 2: 15 Jul 1917
Release Date 2: 24 May 1920

Sounds like he served early in 1910 and was released in 1914.  He likely served with the Michigan National Guard at this point.  He re-enlisted in 1917 and served until may of 1920 with the Army.

He had one daughter named Frances who was born in Washington D.C. in 1920.  Albert was shipped back to the States in 1919 and was busy rehabilitating at Walter Reed Hospital between 1919 and 1920.  Sounds like he had at least one “special visit”.  He also had a son named Carl in 1922 while living in Washington D.C.

At some point the family moved from Washington D.C. to West Virgina where they apparently spent the rest of their lives.  The daughter, Frances Louise Haan appears in the 1939 and  1940 University of West Virginia yearbooks and can be seen below. Quite the stunner for 1940!

1940 UWV Morgantown

1940 UWV Morgantown

Frances Haan 1939

Frances Haan 1939

Frances Haan

Frances Haan 1940


I wonder if Frances is still alive?  I can’t find any info on her past 1941. has no information regarding her marriage or future life. She may still be alive and may be able to shed some light onto her father’s war service.  I hope a family member finds this post!

Carl J Haan is harder to track down.  I do know he enlisted for the US Army in July of 1942.  He was surprisingly listed as an actor as a profession!  This is the first time I’ve seen this!

Name: Carl J Haan
Birth Year: 1922
Race: White, citizen (White)
Nativity State or Country: Dist of Columbia
State of Residence: West Virginia
County or City: Kanawha
Enlistment Date: 1 Jul 1942
Enlistment State: Kentucky
Enlistment City: Fort Thomas Newport
Branch: Branch Immaterial – Warrant Officers, USA
Branch Code: Branch Immaterial – Warrant Officers, USA
Grade: Private
Grade Code: Private
Term of Enlistment: Enlistment for the duration of the War or other emergency, plus six months, subject to the discretion of the President or otherwise according to law
Component: Army of the United States – includes the following: Voluntary enlistments effective December 8, 1941 and thereafter; One year enlistments of National Guardsman whose State enlistment expires while in the Federal Service; Officers appointed in the Army of
Source: Civil Life
Education: 2 years of college
Civil Occupation: Actors and actresses
Marital Status: Single, without dependents
Height: 70
Weight: 168


Amazingly he served in the US Army Air Force in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam!  Quite the lineage!  This family continues to surprise me.  Sadly he passed away on March 22nd, 2000 and is buried in Cameron Memory Gardens in Cameron, MO.  His wife Eleanor passed away in 2002.

Name: Carl J. Haan
SSN: 232-24-6283
Last Residence: 64469  Maysville, Dekalb, Missouri, United States of America
Born: 4 Apr 1922
Died: 22 Mar 2000
State (Year) SSN issued: North Carolina or West Virginia (Before 1951)


WWI 26th Division Photo Identified – Leo Hayden of Natick, MA, Company L, 101st Infantry, 26th “Yankee Division”

Anyone who follows this blog knows that I’m from New England and have a particular interest in the history of the 26th Division given it’s designation as the New England “Yankee” Division.  I’ve had this photo for a few years and recently decided to reexamine it to hopefully find some extra info on the veteran.  Low and behold I was able to discover a treasure trove of info on his service during WWI.  A particularly fine pose showing the two wound chevrons and the OS stripes, this shot is one of my favorites from the 26th Division.

Leo Hayden was a member of Company L of the 101st Infantry Regiment of the 26th Division.  He is buried in St. Patrick’s Cemetery in Natick, MA.

One mysterious point about the image is the fact that he is wearing a 104th Infantry Regiment collar disc but is listed as being a 1st Sgt. with the 101st Infantry.  Is it possible that he was moved to the 104th prior to shipping stateside?

Leo Posed in Studio

Leo Posed in Studio


Veteran Grave Card

Veteran Grave Card




WWI RPPC Photo – 32nd Division, 127th Infantry Wounded Litter Bearers – Identified DSC Recipients!

It’s been months since I’ve picked up a really juicy WWI RPPC photo for my collection.  Last week I was able to win a small group of shots that looked promising.  I knew there was one shot of doughboys wearing helmets bending down on the ground.  When the photo arrived I was surprised to find that the card identified five litter bearers of  Co. F of the 127th Infantry Regiment, 32nd Division.  I quickly found that two of the identified doughboys received the Distinguished Service Cross in October of 1918 for saving wounded soldiers from the trenches during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive.  Another (second from right) is William Methier – he received the Silver Star.  I also identified two other men in the photo as being Edward Krawezyk and Albert Guernsey who both received Division Citations for their heroics.

A truly special photo with a lot of history!

Buckendahl, Emil
Private, U.S. Army
Company F, 127th Infantry Reg., 32d Div., A.E.F.
Date of Action:   October 5, 1918
The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to Emil Buckendahl, Private, U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in action near Gesnes, France, October 5, 1918. Private Buckendahl, a litter bearer, on his own initiative, went out from a position of shelter to an exposed flank, under intense machine-gun fire, and carried back to safety a wounded soldier, who had been left in the field.
General Orders 66, W.D., 1919
Born:   at Pierce, Nebraska
Home Town:   Pierce, Nebraska

Curti, Mike
Private, U.S. Army
Company F, 127th Infantry Reg., 32d Div., A.E.F.
Date of Action:   October 4, 1918
The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to Mike Curti, Private, U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in action near Gesnes, France, October 4, 1918. Private Curti, a litter bearer, went out alone in front of the lines several times under the severest of fire, and carried back wounded men from an exposed area, from which his company had been forced to withdraw.
General Orders 66, W.D., 1919
Born:   at Italy
Home Town:   Reno, Nebraska

William H. Methier

Silver Star Citation

Awarded for actions during the World War I

By direction of the President, under the provisions of the act of Congress approved July 9, 1918 (Bul. No. 43, W.D., 1918), Private William H. Methier (ASN: 3102759), United States Army, is cited by the Commanding General, American Expeditionary Forces, for gallantry in action and a silver star may be placed upon the ribbon of the Victory Medals awarded him. Private Methier distinguished himself by gallantry in action while serving with Company F, 127th Infantry Regiment, 32d Division, American Expeditionary Forces, in action near Tronsot Farm, France, 16 October 1918, while on duty as a litter bearer.

General Orders: GHQ, American Expeditionary Forces, Citation Orders No. 3 (June 3, 1919)

Action Date: October 16, 1918

Service: Army

Rank: Private

Company: Company F

Regiment: 127th Infantry Regiment

Division: 32d Division Expeditionary Forces


Mike Curti

Emil Buckendahl's Grave

WWI Wounded 78th Division Soldier – Exciting Research Update!

I’ve been recently turned on to the magic of, one of the best tools for researching WWI images I’ve yet to discover. I decided to start a search for one of the names written on the back of one of my better WWI images. Alex Lindell poses in his WWI French portrait photo showing off his missing finger – likely a battle wound received on October 18th, 1918 while he was with the 309th Infantry Regiment (78th Division) during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. After a search of draft cards through the National Archives, I came across a pair of WWI and WWII draft cards with the presumed identity of Alex Lindell. After comparing the signatures on both my photo and the draft cards, I realized I had a match! Success! His ASN was 2451963.


Alex served in Company H, 309th Infantry Regiment, 78th Division and was originally born in Oeland, Finland but eventually ended up in Brooklyn, NY. He was born on May 5th, 1889 and passed away just shy of the age of 61 on April 11th. 1950 where he was buried in Long Island National Cemetery. He was listed as being severely wounded in action on October 18th, 1918 where he presumably lost his finger as seen in the below photo.



Photo Colorized by the Photo Alchemist

Signature on Obverse

WWI Draft Card

WWII Draft Card

Signatures Compared


Alexander’s WWI Veterans Burial Card
Footage of the 78th Division during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive

WWI Dogtag Collection – 1st Lt. Liva McLain – Evacuation Hospital No.7 in France

I recently picked a nice WWI dogtag from a medical officer named Liva C. McLain, and found that he likely served as a surgeon with the 7th Evacuation Hospital at Chateau Montanglaust in France, a hospital especially equipped to deal with those wounded with mustard gas.

He is mentioned on page six of the following medical corps pamphlet,

It looks like Liva served with the hospital during some key battles during the war.  His hospital served the wounded at both Chateau Thierry and Belleau Woods.  Here’s a good JSTOR article about the unit’s participation at Belleau Woods:

Here is a link to a soldier in the 103rd Infantry Regiment of the 26th Division who spent some time recuperating at the 7th Hospital:

The 7th Evacuation Hospital was organized on 26 November 1917, at Fort Riley, Kansas, as Evacuation Hospital Number 7. The organization participated in WW 1 in the following campaigns: Champagne-Marne, Aisne-Marne, St Mihiel, and Meuse-Argonne. It received a decoration streamer with colors of the French Croix de Guerre with Silver Star, embroidered St Mihiel-Msuse-Argonne. The organization was demobilized on 1 May 1919.



Updates – 12/12/2013

In an effort to reevaluate some of my WWI collection material, I decided to do a new ancestry search on Lt. McLain.  I came up with an interesting document to confirm the above information.  Nothing earth shattering, but it provides a bit of clarity to the presented information.


Lt. McLain's WWI California Veteran Registry Card

Lt. McLain’s WWI California Veteran Registry Card